Cubs can't keep pace with Reds, fall 8-4 in Cincinnati

Elly De La Cruz hit a three-run homer on the anniversary of his major league debut and the Cincinnati Reds won a season-high fifth straight game, 8-4 over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.

TJ Friedl, Jonathan India and Will Benson also drove in runs as the Reds followed a three-game sweep in Colorado with a win over the NL Central rival Cubs in the first of a four-game series.

Hunter Greene (4-2) struck out eight while allowing four runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. Three Reds relievers combined to keep the Cubs hitless the rest of the way, with closer Alexis Diaz issuing a walk before striking out three straight batters to end it.

Home runs accounted for all of Chicago's runs, a two-run, upper-deck blast by Seiya Suzuki in the third inning and a 415-foot, two-run shot to center by Christopher Morel in the sixth.

Cubs starter Javier Assad (4-2) allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and two walks.

Reliever Porter Hodge's third straight walk forced in a run with two outs in the Reds' seventh, and Will Benson followed with a two-run single to right to extend the Cincinnati lead.

The 22-year-old De La Cruz got the Reds on the board in the third inning with his team-leading 11th homer of the year, a shot to right field that came off the bat at 114.7 mph.


Reds: RHP Emilio Pagán (right triceps tightness) was activated from the 15-day disabled list. Right-handed starter Graham Ashcraft (4-3, 5.05 ERA) was sent to Triple-A Louisville to make room on the roster. The 26-year-old Ashcraft has failed to pitch through six innings in his last six starts.


The Cubs send lefty Justin Steele (0-2, 4.10 ERA, 36 Ks) to the mound to face Reds lefty Nick Lodolo (5-2, 3.11, 49 Ks) as the series continues on Friday night.


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